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Dark Arcana: The Carnival (iOs) Review

There is one messed up carnie up in this game.

Dark Arcana: The Carnival is a new hidden object adventure game that sets readers right into a mysterious dark carnival. When a young mother is spirited away from her daughter and locked into the carnival, her tiny daughter is distraught. As you are a police detective, she begs you to find her mother and bring her home. But Jim, the owner of the carnival, is doing everything in his power to stop you. But why?

As you make your way into the carnival, you’ll find a lot of locked doors and strange happenings. The girl’s mother appears to have sucked into the funhouse mirrors….but how? You’ll have to wander the carnival, going back and forth between various locales in order to find the pieces that open the doors, and then go back and forth between even more locales. In fact, most lf the hidden object action here is of the “find out where in this place the objects are at”, rather than a lot of standard “find the list object screens”.

There are standard object jumbles in Dark Arcana: The Carnival though, too. They are what you would expect: a list of words are given for you to find in one set screenshot. There are usually a couple of blue words on the list as well; these need to interacted with and changed before they’ll meet the criteria on the list. For instance, for tic tac toe, you need to find a piece of chalk and finish the game before you can select it. This adds an extra element of challenge to puzzles that are challenging, but not terribly so.

Dark Arcana: The Carnival is one of very few hidden object adventures that can be completed without ever doing a hidden object jumble. How? The developers give you a choice in each object jumble scene. You can find the hidden objects, or you can switch to a game of Monaco. Monaco is a matching game, where you can only match up cards that are adjacent to each other in some way (side by side, top to bottom, or diagonal). Matching the special cards, which are marked colorfully, will count as finding an object from the list. Completing a game of Monaco will get you the same items as completing the hidden object jumble, and you can go back and forth between the puzzles at any time. It is a different approach to the standard hidden object adventure game, but choices are always good. My only complaint is that there is no option to complete both puzzles, which is tough for completionists.

Dark Arcana: The Carnival has a unique storyline, which really plays into the creepy environments and strange characters within the game. As you make your way into more areas of the carnival, it soon becomes apparent that the girl’s mother is trapped within the mirrors, and the only way to save her is to follow her there. You’ll have to find a way to travel between dimensions, figure out how to save the girl’s mother (and what she has to do with Jim’s dead wife), and most importantly, find a way to get back. This is the most challenging part of the game; figuring out where to go and when to go back to it, but if you do get stuck, the game’s hint system will point you in the right direction.

Final Thoughts:
Dark Arcana: The Carnival takes the hidden object adventure genre in a different direction. With choices for puzzles and a dark, eerie theme, this is not your average hidden object adventure.

About Amy

U.S. Senior Editor/Deputy EIC at BrutalGamer, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @MacAnthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)

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